Smart Growth: Georgetown

Growth is Coming...Let's Be Smart About It

City Council will set Downtown’s Future over the next 18 Months…Let’s Hope they’re Smart about it!

There are two major City projects that will be coming together over the next 18 months that will either produce a “perfect storm” or a bright future for our historic downtown and Old Town.

The City is starting the long-awaited Downtown Master Plan Update and the Austin Ave Corridor Study, in partnership the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO).  Both projects will significantly influence the potential viability and livability of the center of Georgetown.

The Downtown Master Plan Kick-Off occurred on November 15, which I attended.  The consultant, DesignWorkshop, reviewed the City Vision for Downtown and discussed community involvement in the process.  One of the more controversial issues discussed at Council this year has been commercial development density and building heights.

I know Georgetown is growing rapidly, but let’s be careful that we don’t lose the charm and uniqueness of downtown and Old Town…if we ever lose it, we’ll never get it back.

We all need to be Smart…let’s not “San Marcos” our Square!

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Did You Hear That Loud Boom…it was probably a Quarry near your neighborhood!

Over the last year, I’ve read numerous posts on NextDoor about people hearing loud booms around town. In some cases, their windows even rattled. Quarry BlastWhat’s going on? Are  Putin and the Russians now interfering in our great quality of life here in Georgetown?

I started digging into these loud booms and discovered it wasn’t Putin this time, but blasts from a growing number of quarries that seem to surround Georgetown. According to an article I recently read, if you live a few miles from these blasts, the blast’s shock wave is very similar to the sonic boom generated by a jet airplane when it “breaks the sound barrier.”

Talking to some friends that have been following these issues, I discovered that no one seems to have the authority to regulate the blasting at these quarries.

Now I’m not big on government regulations, but come on. When loud quarry blasts start to affect people’s quality of life and their property values…I think it’s time for someone to start doing something!

Looking into this noisy issue, I learned that the City says that they have no authority over the quarries, even though a lot of them are located in the City’s Extra-Terratorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). County Commissioners have told folks in Sun City that they can’t do anything about it…talk to the State. Apparently, the State of Texas doesn’t have much control over the situation either.

Is anyone doing anything?
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The New San Gabriel River Pedestrian/Bike Bridge…Let’s Get Creative with its Design!

The new pedestrian and bike bridge planned for the South & North San Gabriel Rivers gives Georgetown another opportunity to attract regional and national recognition with a new city landmark that overlooks our beautiful San Gabriel River.

Liberty Bridge in Greenville, South Carolina

Liberty Bridge at Falls Park, Greenville SC

The new bridge, which will be built alongside the Austin Ave Bridges, will connect to the San Gabriel park/trail system and link the Square & downtown to the Sheraton Hotel/Rivery development, the City’s west side, and ultimately to Lake Georgetown & Garey Park.  The pedestrian bridge also  gives us the opportunity to create a unique “gateway” for downtown Georgetown.

Instead of taking a traditional engineering approach to designing a basic utility bridge to accommodate pedestrian and bicycle traffic over the Rivers, hopefully the City will think outside the box and be creative in how they go about selecting the design for the new bridge.

Do we take the usual route and give the job to an engineering company without competitionor do we decide to be imaginative…and SMART?

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